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schemes of discovery. And while letter describing a voyage to the New World was in the mak- Iceland, recording that a mariner ing, thus, John Cabot, the Genoese, of Bristol sailed from there on July settled in England.
15, 1480, with ships of 80 tons It is as likely as not that he burden, to discover the mysterious made his home in Bristol. Ans- land of Brasylle or O’Brazil, repach, it will be remembered, ac- puted to lie in the Atlantic; and counts for his introduction to between then and 1497, seven King Henry by his successful times, Bristol men set out for the negotiations with the Court of island of Brazil and the Seven Denmark behalf of the mer- Cities. They were " dreamers, chants of Bristol. That is not dreaming greatly,” who "yearned improbable. Hundreds of years beyond the sky-line where the before, the Vikings had searched strange roads go down”; and the northern seas, found the among them came Cabot, learned Faroes and Iceland, fought the as they in all navigating arts, ice to Greenland, and, almost be- with a greater knowledge of geoyond a doubt, sighted, it may be graphy, and his own hot fancies even landed on, Labrador. This about a western way to Dipango, legacy of* sober enterprise had which the spice caravans at Mecca been bequeathed to the English had fired, and the news of Columsailors. By the beginning of the bus's voyage were to set ablaze fourteenth century, English voy- afresh. And they and he, sailing ages to Iceland were numerous. out once more, came to the conBy the fifteenth, a flourishing tinent of North America, and trade existed between the two realised their dreams in a discovery countries. In this intercourse such as they never dreamed of. with Iceland, Bristol was always For just as Columbus set sail for to the front, and once she had the land of spices, and when he a monopoly of it. So important came to Cuba made sure that it had it grown that an interrup- was Cipango, nor ever thought tion of it could become a casus belli but that the land he found was between England and Denmark; the territory of the Grand Khan; and it is not impossible that so John Cabot, when he discovered Cabot was engaged about 1495 the island, where the land was in prosecuting the claims of the fertile and temperate, and fish Bristol men for ships seized and so plentiful that the trade with cargoes sold by the Danish king Iceland must cease, had his in the war which had just ended. thoughts still directed to the But besides trade and sober ad- greater undertaking of sailing ventures in the north seas, the "along the coast to the east, Bristol mariners had those visions where he believes all the spices of and fancies to which so greatly, the world grow, and where there as Nansen says, England owes are also gems," and hopes to make her territory to-day: visions of London a greater place for spices ice-free seas, dreams of the An- than Alexandria. Even so, two tilia, the land that the Portuguese hundred years later, La Salle in the Canaries saw shining in the named his estate on the rapids west in the setting of the sun, of the St Lawrence Lachine, in the "green isles of the flood” that the belief that it was on a watervanished at the fisherman's ap- way that led to China. From proach. We find Columbus, in a that greater undertaking, so far as we know, John Cabot never flags on territory of greatly wider returned. In his second voyage extent than that discovered by to the north, in 1501, Corte-Real Oabot in the 1497 voyage. But found in Nova Scotia or Cape all this is conjecture. It is enough Breton “a broken sword, gilded, that we know that John Cabot which was certainly made in discovered North America, and Italy," and in the ears of a native that this year of rejoicings throughboy two silver rings “which with out the empire is the fourth cenout doubt seem to have been tenary of the expedition by which manufactured in Venice.” It is the foundations of the empire were believed that these must have laid. been relics of John Cabot's second
" When Drake went down to the Horn, expedition. Mr Weare makes the interesting suggestion that Cabot
And England was crowned thereby,
Twixt seas unsailed and shores unreached the mainland and was
hailed there met and killed by Alonso
Our Lodge--our Lodge was born de Hojeda, who with La Cosa, the (And England was crowned thereby !)” map - maker, as chief pilot, and Amerigo Vespucci as one of his Such is the “Song of the Dead,” “ useful companions," set sail for who call on their sons to follow the north in the spring of 1499. after“by the bones on the way.” Certainly, Hojeda would have little And we may say, this year more scruple in putting out of the way surely than ever, that these sons any Englishman whom he found still living are a Lodge—a Lodge on lands dedicated to Spain by of Empire, born when John Cabot the papal bull. And we might discovered America, long before thus explain the presence, in La Drake went down to the Horn. Cosa’s map of 1500, of English And England thereby is crowned !
It was the evening of a burning hand, provided by nature, so it Sunday in June 1844, in an out-of- would seem, for the fertilisation of the-way village in the southern the soil. And I thought of Egypt plains of India, when, seated in my and the Nile, and could not help long arm-chair in the verandah, I wondering why, with all this fell asleep and dreamed.
abundant water, there should be I had been reading Grimm's no sign of vegetation. Then someFairy Tales, and my mind was full how the scene changed, and I of Rumpelstiltskin, the little old thought I was in some great hall man who could spin straw into crowded with people, to whom I gold; and while I was thinking of was going to lecture. By my this, and of how delightful it side was an easel, and on it a would be to have such power, I huge map of the same vast desert, thought some one touched me on with all the features I had just the shoulder and said, “Come with me, and I will show
And again my thoughts ran on may do even greater wonders than Egypt, and the words of Moses, Rumpelstiltskin; for you shall which I had heard that morning in spin water into gold, and cinders church, kept coming into my head, into cornfields, and ropes of sand “Must we fetch you water out of into strings of pearl."
this rock?” Then I took up a And I looked, and we seemed to pointer, and, with Moses still in be standing on a bare hillside my thoughts, began to touch the commanding an extensive view of several arms of the great river on a vast level plain, bounded in the the map, as if to illustrate my far distance by the sea. And lecture; and behold, as I did so, somehow I thought that, notwith each branch of the river seemed to standing the great distance, I break into a thousand tiny chancould distinguish every detail of nels, like silver threads, and at the landscape as if through a once the colours of the landscape telescope: and a more desolate changed, for I still seemed to be scene I had never beheld. The regarding the actual scene,-and whole plain seemed to be one vast gradually stretch after stretch of desert of burning sand, without a the burnt-up sand was transformed blade of vegetation, and here and before my eyes into fields of wavthere were clusters of wretched ing corn. The clusters of mud mud hovels, the only human habi- hovels, baking in the sun, became tation ; and at the doors were well - built villages shaded by gathered groups of the most miser- groves of palm; and under the able, emaciated creatures - men, trees were groups of well-to-do women, and children—that I had country people, and troops of chil
dren in school play-grounds. The Then I perceived, to my astonish- reaches of the river too seemed to ment, that through this desolate widen and grow beautiful, with a region there ran a great river, with fringe of dense and lovely foliage ; branches like the veins on a man's and on the broad shining water
ways I saw, following each other the shelves of our palatial offices in succession, huge barges loaded at Whitehall—we doubt if there to the water's edge with merchan- is to be found a volume of more dise of every sort and description. dramatic interest, or more rich in Among them were market-boats, practical lessons, than the modest with their picturesque cargo of and at first sight strictly technical fruits and country folk, forming a record cited at the foot of this scene such as once led to the com- page.? parison of a well-dressed Eastern Embedded in its 150 pages, and crowd to a garden of tulips. And half hidden under the statistics as I watched them dropping down and technicalities with which they the stream, a strain of sweet music bristle, there lies a veritable hissmote my ear, and voices of women torical romance, hardly a whit less and children singing in chorus rose wonderful than the airy fancy we in the clear morning air.
have sketched above, amounting word, the whole land had suddenly as it does to nothing less than the awakened from death to life, and literal and practical realisation of the desert had been turned into a exactly such a dream as we have rich and beautiful garden. And imagined. "The Conquest of the as I was wondering by what magic Godavery,'in the hands of a master, so marvellous a transformation had might indeed be so presented in been wrought, I awoke, and behold the form of drama or romance as it was a dream! And on the table to rival many a more famous work by my side lay an unopened letter which has given immortality to the “On her Majesty's Service," order- writer of fiction. ing me to headquarters, and invit- It is the story of a herculean ing me to take charge of a great task set for execution, of a forescheme of public works in another sight in essaying it amounting part of the Presidency.
almost to inspiration, of undaunted We can imagine that it was in courage and perseverance in face some such fashion as this that, of overwhelming obstacles, and of fifty years ago, the brain of a a success far surpassing the most gifted engineer was inspired to sanguine anticipations, such as undertake and carry to triumphant would at all times be deserving of completion one of the most extra- careful study, but which has ordinary and fruitful works of the special claims on public attention present century—a work calculated at the present time, and paramount at any time to fill Englishmen with claims on those responsible in any pride, but at the present moment degree for the welfare of India. one of vital importance to the And are we not all at this moempire, not only in itself, but in ment realising our share of that the help which its history may responsibility ?-face to face as we afford in a crisis of the gravest are once more with the hideous magnitude.
spectre of Famine, threatening In all the literature of Indian millions who depend on administration—that vast library their daily bread. Day after day of yearly reports whose fate is for our withers are wrung by detailed the most part to gather dust on reports from those on the spot, of
1 The Engineering Works of the Godavari Delta ; a Descriptive and Historical Account. Compiled for the Madras Government by George T. Walch, M. Inst.C.E., Chief Engineer for Irrigation, Madras (retired).
increasing thousands employed on can bridge Forth and Tay and relief works, and of heroic efforts Menai, who make light of mounto arrest the tide of impending tain railway or submarine telestarvation, till such time as nature graph, and, above all, who pose as shall again furnish the seasonable the first of oriental Powers, sit floods on which the life of the down helpless in presence of natpeople depends.
ural phenomena so familiar as those Nobly have England and her on which depends the periodical colonies come forward to give all return of famine to a tropical the help that money and affection country?
country? Is it possible that can afford; and not less nobly there are no means by which we have others joined in the work, – may render India once and for kindred States under native Indian all independent of such well-underrule, and countries far less bound stood conditions of Eastern life! to India than ourselves. The With money poured out like spectacle which India presents to- water, is it the cost we shrink day is in truth unique in history, from? Have we sunk so low that and affords striking evidence, if any sordid thought of private inany were needed, of England's terest stops the way? or have we capacity for the great charge she not trust enough in our children has assumed as an Eastern Power, of genius? In vain we search reand not less perhaps of the un- port and speech and lecture and noticed but commanding influence narrative, official and unofficial, gained over mankind by Christian past and present, of those most sentiment. No more eloquent interested in and best acquainted proof could be found of the pro- with the country, for any really gress of the past hundred years, satisfactory answer to such quesalike in Indian administration and tions as these. In all alike it in popular feeling, than in the seems to be taken for granted, as contrast presented by the records a foregone conclusion, that there of the present great famine with can be no thought of ridding the the story told in Sir W. Hunter's country for ever of the periodical * Annals of Rural Bengal' of that visits of this tremendous calamity, which in 1770 turned Bengal into and that all that the resources of a howling wilderness.
can hope to achieve is to But when all has been done, and battle successfully with the enemy when the threatened lives of help- when he is at the gates. But the less thousands have been rescued, note of a more hopeful strain is in we remain still confronted by the the air, and we make bold to say uneasy consciousness that the root that in this most opportunely pubof the evil is untouched. Like lished record of a great work some irresistible tidal wave, Famine actually accomplished is to be in India recedes for a time, only found an answer at once convincto gather strength in the interval, ing and full of encouragement-an returning in a few years with over- object-lesson of incalculable value whelming volume, to find us still in the treatment of Indian famine, unprepared, and driven in the last writ so large that he who runs resort to heroic remedies. Yet may read. surely here is matter for amaze- It needs exceptional courage, ment, at least to the unlearned. we are well aware, to essay an Shall we, who stand in the fore- excursion into the records of a front of scientific research, who public office, and to face the chilly